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We may not count her armies

Let's dump the dirge-like national anthem

By Andy Crick   June 1999

Imagine a future Olympic games. One of Britain’s best athletes is victorious. The three athletes on the podium turn to face their respective flags. It should be an uplifting moment of personal and patriotic pride. But then the band strikes up the victor’s national anthem, a miserable dirge with embarrassing words that nobody seems to know (at least after the first verse). It is a sad anti-climax.

If any part of the “dignified” aspects of the British state is ripe for change it is the national anthem. According to the Penguin Book of Hymns, God Save the Queen originated as…

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